Front Page Woman (1935)
Starring Bette Davis, George Brent and Roscoe Karns
Credits: Bette portrait from Stirred, Straight Up, With a Twist; George, Bette and Roscoe from Doctor Macro; portrait of George and lobby card from Will McKinley; ad via mudwerks on Tumblr; yellow lobby card from Greenman2008 on Flickr.
This exhibition print by noted Hollywood still photographer Ernest Bachrach is the best King Kong promotional ever.
Another Bachrach exhibition print. Bachrach did a notable series of photos of Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s. During his time at RKO, he did a lovely set of close-up stills on Katharine Hepburn for Alice Adams, several of which can be seen here at the listings for a recent Profiles in History auction. A short blurb about retouching these photos can be found at The Katharine Hepburn Theatre.
Merian C. Cooper and Fay Wray demonstrate the mechanism used to secure her inside the mechanical monkey’s grip during filming.
Fay’s tattered island couture.
There is a nasty, vicious rumor that I don’t like Una Merkel.
As if! Una is the savior of many a pre-Code musical and post-Code comedy, her sarcasm as wide as those big doe eyes of hers.
Hollywood, especially the Hollywood Una resided in, was obsessed with glamour, and if a movie star wasn’t busy being fabulous they had better be singing or dancing, or, if energetic enough (and male enough) to be in a group of other like-minded men, many of whom had faces made for radio, a star could get by with being wacky.
Una was different. It’s not that Una wasn’t glamorous, because she was, with that lovely skin and a figure designers were delighted to dress. And it’s not that she couldn’t sing or dance; she more than holds her own in 42nd Street with the hot new musical actress in town, Ginger Rogers.
But Una’s true talent was in being a grounded, intelligent woman, simultaneously fun and stern. Her sarcasm was never for the sake of cruelty, but rather expressed the frustrations of the audience, probably once again caught in the midst of a madcap, unbelievable plot.
Una was often the only voice of reason amongst a sea of beautiful people doing very silly things for the sake of a plot. She narrowed her eyes and pointed her finger at people who needed a good scolding; her good-hearted machinations kept plots moving right along; she never took an egomaniac seriously.
Audiences needed and loved Una Merkel, and I do, too.
Yesterday, I re-posted a 2010 entry of mine with Clara Bow in a host of Halloween-themed promotional pictures. Recently I found another from the set, and it inadvertently started off a lengthy search for Halloween props reused repeatedly in pictures over the years:
That mask and the pumpkins from the set I posted yesterday were also used in a series of pics with Nancy Carroll:
Another popular set of props originated with promotionals for I Married A Witch (1942):
Those pumpkins show up all over the place:
And three with Ann Miller, taken at least a decade after the Veronica Lake film:
In this one, Ann is posed with the same striped cat that was in the Elaine Stewart picture I posted earlier this month.
Speaking of cats, Ava Gardner and June Knight have the same one, painted differently, and I think the same broom with a different rein:
This all started a few days ago when Thomas, in comments of that Elaine Stewart post, brought up the hilarious cats that show up in these Halloween cheesecake pics. I went searching for a specific photo I was looking for and found these two, which have the same wiry black thing shaped vaguely like a cat:
Jane Adams and Patricia Alphine
And finally, right back where we began, with Clara Bow and those freakish cats I went looking for in the first place:
You’re welcome for the nightmares.
A little Madam Satan photo gallery for this delightful October morning. Above is the fashion sketch by Adrian for Madam Satan’s deadly ball gown.
Dracula (1931) photo gallery